Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Actor's Press Ruining or Making a Movie?

My husband and I saw Knight and Day, with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz on the 4th of July and we enjoyed it very much! I thought it was a cute romantic thriller. I found the dialogue to be particularly good. Was it predictable? A bit. Was it plausible? Of course not-not any more than any James Bond, Bourne series, Mission Impossible etc. movies. But I still enjoyed it. Warning, spoiler here-It was a feel-good movie with a happy ending. And that made me happy.

When looking for photos for my post, I was surprised to run across several really poor reviews of it. The LA Times seemed particularly brutal claiming that Cruise and Diaz were has-beens. Most of the negativity seemed aimed towards Cruise who was lambasted for his deteriorated public image. The article suggested that Tom Cruis’s jumping on Oprahs couch, his ignorant remarks about depression, and his religious views (Scientology) have ruined his brand.

This notion kind of irked me. Really? You really care about stupid things Tom Cruise does and says? I don’t believe his comments were malicious or deliberately trying to hurt anybody. Insensitive and stupid? Undoubtedly. But should that really affect his career? Do that many people really have to like an actor to believe his portrayal of a character? I dont.

I STILL dont understand the big hoopla about his jumping on Oprahs couch. Was that a manners thing? So he jumped on a couch in his enthusiasm over being in love. BIG DEAL. Did people think him being insincere? Juvenile? So WHAT? Do those people that were bothered by it, have nothing else in their lives to worry about? I pity them.

When I watch a movie, I dont really care much about the person behind a character. Sure, perhaps I like George Clooneys characters a little more because hes not only awesome eye candy, but hes supposedly (I can't say for sure because I dont know him-I only know what the media wants me to know about him) a really nice, smart, caring guy too.
But I dont dislike Mel Gibson’s, Charlie Sheen’s, or Collin Ferrells characters because theyre reported to be bigoted, alcoholic, assholes and horn dogs. Apparently my attitude is in the minority.
What could account for people who dislike an entire movie because of the actors who play the leads-or conversely like a movie solely because of who plays the leads? Are they simply judgmental people? Or is the characterization in the story/movie done poorly so the watcher isnt intrigued and invested enough in the character and story to forget that there is an actor playing this character?
Help me out here. Is there a valid reason for disliking a movie not because of the staring actors' s skill, but simply because who they are perceived to be when they're not working?


sdennard said...

Hurrah! Great post, and I agree wholeheartedly. It's about suspension of disbelief -- isn't that why we go to the movies in the first place? If we can suspend our disbelief long enough to believe in flying superheroes, then why, pray tell, can't we suspend it long enough to detach the character from the actor?

Thanks for this thoughtful blog post.

Donnell said...

T. You make such an awesome point. If the movie is great and we get lost in the characterization and plot, the other world stuff should pass us by. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I talked with critique partners last night who loved it.

So guess who's opinion I'm going to take over The LA Times? My trusted peers, of course. Can't wait to go see Knight and Day.

Theresa said...

I posted this to my Facebook and one friend made a really valid point, in that seeing the movie, we're in a sense "supporting" the actors and indirectly their bad behavior????

This is obviously not a writer friend, since I was looking at it more from a craft/writer POV rather than a moral POV. Different perspectives altogether.

As trying to make this a business--with profit the end goal, I guess it's smart of us to know all the different prospectives of our end market.

Donnell said...

Which is a constant reminder why we must be professional in all respects. Still, the has been comment bothered me; that sounded petty, not taken from a professional standpoint rather a personal opinion, because both of these actors are still at the top of their game in my opinion.

And, T. we discussed politics etc. I hate to support an actor who is in your face about his/her politics, but an immature tirade, I can let that pas and appreciate a good film.

Amy said...

I find it really hard to forget about an actor or for that matter, author's bad behavior. I will go see this movie probably, (thanks for the rec!) but it's harder for me to believe the actor as a character if their real life is in my face all the time.

As far as supporting bad behavior...well we support A LOT of bad behavior in other businesses. So that seems like it would be hard to enforce.

Angi Morgan said...

My daughter and I LOVED this movie. We were in love with the music, the acting, the editing, the approach to another Action/Thriller. EVERYTHING about this movie is fantastic and I hate that petty critics are killing it.

If you haven't seen this movie --DO IT.


Dani in NC said...

I wrote a post similar to this one recently about the movie "Julie and Julia". I consider myself pretty good at compartmentalizing and enjoying a movie on its own merits despite what the actors and writers do in their real lives. However, I couldn't shake my distaste for Julie Powell the writer long enough to enjoy the charming characterization of her in the movie. I guess there are some things you just can't "unknow".

Leslie Ann said...

When an actor totally screws up in public, I lose all suspension of disbelief while watching them on the screen. I might love the plot and enjoy the movie on a surface level, but deep inside be pissed that the actor was stupid enough to jeopardize so much.

We all make mistakes...but when you're famous, the mistakes are magnified...rightly or wrong. That one price of fame.

Me, I don't want to be famous...rich from my career, YES, but not famous.

My 2 cents.